Money is central to pretty much every aspect of our lives today, including acts of community service. Without proper funding, charitable organizations couldn’t do all that they do for those who really need it. But Eric Hauge, the company’s vice president and general manager and his employees at ArcelorMittal Cleveland are firm believers that a company’s philanthropic efforts have to be more than just a check.

It’s why the company’s strategic direction cannot begin to be shaped without including the work that company employees will take on that year to make their community a better place. It’s a comprehensive effort that includes representation from both ArcelorMittal and the communities that the company calls home.

These partners meet to identify problems that need to be addressed and then discuss plans to solve those problems. The money is a part of that but the time and the commitment to finding solutions is what can really make the difference.

One of the most recent projects for ArcelorMittal is an effort to help preserve the Cuyahoga River and take steps to ensure it remains the valuable natural resource that it is today for so many people.

The company has partnered with the Cuyahoga River Community Planning Organization to work on developing sustainable approaches to manage sediment in the river. There are also talks about what can be done to support fish habitats in the river’s shipping channel.

But that’s just one aspect of what ArcelorMittal is doing. The company actively supports developing science, technology, engineering and math skills through the STEM program. Financial support has enabled Cleveland schools to purchase Smart Boards, robotics equipment and other tools that help students learn.

The relationships continue to grow and that’s good news for those proud to have ArcelorMittal in their town.


How to reach: ArcelorMittal Cleveland, (216) 429-6062 or

Published in Akron/Canton

If you’re an employee at AkzoNobel Decorative Paints North America, you’ve probably helped paint a classroom, donated school supplies or brought a new shine to a school playground. It’s just what you do when you work at AkzoNobel.

The paint company led by Bob Taylor, the company’s president and general manager, has more than two dozen volunteer initiatives that are supported through its community program.

When it’s a painting project, AkzoNobel typically donates all of the paint, stain, tools and materials for a project. Employees donate their time and energy, sometimes during the workday or on evenings and weekends. In 2011, employees in Greater Cleveland used nearly 700 gallons of paint and gave more than 2,300 hours of time to help make the lives of their neighbors a little bit better.

In some cases, the painting is about more than just freshening up a room with color. Studies have shown that certain colors in the classroom can be more conducive to learning and can help students perform better. A brochure helps volunteers work with the schools they’ve chosen to come up with a color scheme that best fits their room.

But not all the good will is spread with a brush. AkzoNobel has been a valuable contributor to area food pantries, including the Strongsville food bank. The company also raises more than $100,000 each year to support the United Way and took part in an effort to help the Cuyahoga Valley National Park rid an invasive plant species from its grounds.

It’s those personal connections made from neighbor to neighbor that make all the difference. When each person does their part, so much can be accomplished and that’s the mindset that AkzoNobel employees bring each day.


How to reach: AkzoNobel Decorative Paints North America,

Published in Akron/Canton

Thomas M. Laird Jr. was a founding member of the ACE Mentor Program of Cleveland, an affiliate of the ACE Mentor Program of America. Since 2008, the ACE program in Cleveland has provided mentors to students in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District who are interested in pursuing careers in the architecture, construction and engineering fields.

As part of his efforts, Laird organized the principals of leading Cleveland design and construction firms, providing the foundation for the program’s outreach efforts in area high schools, which begin with mentoring and continues in the form of scholarships and grants that allow students in the program to continue their advancement in the industry.

Laird was not only critical in helping to raise funds for the organization’s scholarship program but also in convincing Kent State University, Cuyahoga Community College and Cleveland State University to provide matching scholarships for CMSD students interested in entering the architecture and engineering fields.

Over its nearly five-year existence, Laird has led the effort to bring the ACE program from a few participating first in its inception to a current pool of 35 participating firms in the architecture, engineering and construction fields.

Together, the participating firms provide more than 50 volunteers who serve as student mentors. For the 2012-13 school year, the plans include programs at West Technical High School, East Technical High School, John Hay School of Architecture and Design and James Ford Rhodes High School.

Mentors introduce students to a broad range of people, projects and career possibilities within their field of interest. Through personal example, explanation and tours of offices and construction sites, ACE mentors educate students about career paths and professional life in the design and construction professions.


How to reach: Ace Mentor Program of Cleveland,

Published in Akron/Canton

Clevelanders have an amazing ability to come together and support things they feel are important, says Matthew Figgie, chairman of Clark-Reliance Corp. Figgie spoke at the National Kidney Foundation’s Corporate Kick-off Breakfast at Cleveland Browns Stadium earlier today.

Clark-Reliance, recipient of a 2011 Medical Mutual Pillar Award for Community Service, presented by Smart Business, has proved Clevelanders can make a difference through the company’s extensive support of the NKF.

Rick Solon, company president and CEO, chaired the 2011 Northeast Ohio Kidney Walk, which raised a record-breaking $185,000. Clark-Reliance’s 162 walkers raised $2,869 toward this, in addition to the corporate sponsor’s $7,500 scholarship donation.

Figgie, recipient of a kidney transplant thanks to the efforts of Clark-Reliance as detailed here, will continue this spirit of service as chair of the 2012 Northeast Ohio Kidney Walk. The event will take place June 10 outside the Great Lakes Science Center, with a goal to raise $225,000.

“We can make the effort, we can raise the money,” Figgie says. “We have to get the word out, we have to educate people, we have to rally – because this is something that we can control.”

Published in Cleveland
Wednesday, 18 January 2012 20:01

Enhancing the quality of life

Medical Mutual 2012 Pillar Award

for Community Service — Cincinnati

Kent Clapp CEO Leadership Award

Timothy Johnson, founder, president and CEO of Johnson Investment Counsel Inc., whole-heartedly believes that being an active member in your community and giving back is what makes a company thrive. For the investment management and financial advisory services firm, community service has been instilled in the corporate culture.

Johnson founded his wealth management company in 1965. In 2001, the company became employee-owned and is now the largest independent employee-owned wealth management firm in Ohio, managing more than $6 billion in 45 states. Johnson has been sure to get his employees and his clients involved in community initiatives.

Community involvement comes in many different forms and Johnson has worked to make as many of those forms apart of his firms charitable philosophy. One way Johnson and his employees give back is by serving on the boards of various organizations. The giving of services and expertise is something that Johnson and his employees and the boards they serve on value very much.

Presently, Johnson Investment employees serve on 58 boards within the community. The employees hold another 40 leadership positions in various committees and advisory councils.

Johnson leads his company’s charitable efforts through demonstrating ways to give back. He is an individual who represents the true spirit of giving, enhancing the quality of life in the Cincinnati community. He has a commitment toward philanthropy and passes that quality on to his employees and clients who work with him every day.

That commitment has resulted in more than $350,000 being donated by Johnson Investments and the creation of the Johnson Charitable Gift Fund, a way for the company’s clients to manage endowments. Over the past four years more than $22 million has been given to nonprofit organizations through this fund.

HOW TO REACH: Johnson Investment Counsel Inc., (513) 661-3100 or

Published in Cincinnati
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 16:10

Difference maker

Outside of school leaders, few people in central Ohio make more decisions that impact the lives of area youth than Edward Cohn, president and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio. It is the positive impact of his decisions that spurred his nomination for the 2012 Rea & Associates Nonprofit Executive Director of the Year.

Cohn’s strong business and financial background have helped to build the strong financial foundation, which has helped Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio to weather the nature of the nonprofit environment. Cohn has effectively adapted the budgeting process to manage within the unpredictable nonprofit environment, especially during the challenging economic climate brought about by the recent recession.

Cohn is extremely connected to and invested in the Big Brothers Big Sisters mission. His connection to the mission has led him to become a mentor himself. He has also incorporated a strong environment of collaborative decision making, working closely with his leadership team in making decisions that are aimed at the best possible results for the agency and all of its constituents.

Cohn utilizes a research and development approach to launch new initiatives, and his performance-based approach ensures that all staff members are performing at high levels to achieve the organization’s stated goals and objectives. His focus on evidence-based impact and outcomes has led to many program enhancements that continue to strengthen Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring matches and keep them together longer.

Each member’s time and talent is utilized for maximum impact by Cohn and his team. Most recently, Cohn worked with a board member from Cardinal Health to help bring lean-based training to the entire organization. Lean training became a valuable addition to the management of Big Brothers Big Sisters, leading to new ways of doing business.

How to reach: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio, (614) 839-2447 or

Published in Columbus
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 15:02

From the hearts of our sponsors

The sponsors of the 2011 Medical Mutual Pillar Award for Community Service support the program because they believe in its mission — to recognize the critical tie between the for-profit and nonprofit communities. Here is a little bit about each of this year’s sponsors:

Duke Energy Center

It is the goal of Global Spectrum at the Duke Energy Convention Center to provide our clients with an experience that goes above and beyond their expectations. Our commitment to service, attention to detail, ability to listen carefully and respond to every request will enable us to achieve this goal one event at a time. We are fully committed to delivering the highest level of building management and operations in the industry. We take pride in our facility and the community it represents and understand our role in bringing people to Cincinnati and helping them experience all the great things the city has to offer.

Although it originally opened in 1968, the Duke Energy Convention Center experienced its third grand opening in 2006 as the city of Cincinnati unveiled the results of the most recent expansion. At that time, Global Spectrum was hired by the city to manage all aspects of the more than 750,000-square- foot Duke Energy Convention Center. Featuring more than 750,000 square feet of exhibit, meeting and entertainment space, we are the ideal destination for your next meeting, conference, convention, trade show or banquet.

As part of its corporate responsibility programs, Global Spectrum is committed to reducing the use of natural resources and the amount of waste that results from the

various activities and events that take place at the Duke Energy Convention Center. These efforts are part of a corporate initiative called the Global Spectrum STEP UP Program, which is a program designed to distinguish us as a socially and environmentally responsible organization.

Our efforts to develop of buildingwide recycling program to increase the operating efficiency of the Duke Energy Convention Center began in April 2008. As the program has continued to evolve and expand, we have developed strong partnerships with Hamilton County Environmental Services and The Recycling Group to grow our support and promotion of recycling. Since the inception of our recycling program, Global Spectrum has diverted more than 350,000 pounds (as of Dec. 31, 2009) of post-consumable material from the landfills.

Learn more at

Colortone Staging & Rental Inc.

Colortone Staging & Rental is a premier audiovisual and staging company with expertise in event design and production. We stage a multitude of events, including corporate meetings, awards banquets, special events, trade shows, concerts, webcasts and videoconferences. CSR also manages audiovisual equipment for hotel properties and operates a full-service equipment rental division. The solutions we provide, combined with our highly trained technical staff, ensure the success of every event. Our quality is unmatched and our attention to detail is unsurpassed.

The staff at CSR consists of the best in the business. Our technicians have an average of five years in the audiovisual and event management business. Their diverse backgrounds allow us to think on our feet, act quickly and provide flexibility and creative problem solving to every situation we find.

The company is also an active member of the community, consistently finding ways to give back where it can.

Learn more at

The Eisen Agency

The Eisen Agency has a longstanding tradition of community service and giving back to our community – some in visible ways and others that are truly behind the scenes. Every member of our firm is part of some local non-profit organization, where we do far more than simply sit on boards and committees – we proactively “do.”

We donate literally hundreds of thousands of dollars in in-kind work to non-profit groups that could otherwise not afford our expertise. We help local schools, and twice annually do a large food drive and cleaning product drive to help those less fortunate.

As Cincinnati’s premier and most awarded public relations firm, we believe whole heartedly in the power of community relations to foster further brand communications with current and prospective clients, business and community leaders, and in building a positive image of our business and creating a positive work environment. We believe that professionals want to work with and work for organizations that are actively engaged in the community, and strive to help out.

It can be said that “it’s just PR,” as if PR was a bad thing. We would say “darn right it’s PR, it’s what our firm is, who we are and we’re proud of it.” Because, in the truest sense of the term, we are blessed, through hard work, tenacity and determination, to be a in position to be able to relate to our publics through a series of community relations and philanthropic programs that provide children toys for Christmas, food on tables, and volunteers and donations for several of Greater Cincinnati’s most recognized non-profit organizations.

Learn more at

Published in Cincinnati

The Medical Mutual Pillar Award for Community Service, presented by Smart Business, honors businesses of all types and sizes that make outstanding contribution to their community. Its purpose is to encourage a charitable enviroment, recognize creative efforts that make a difference and demonstrate the ties between the for-profit and nonprofit worlds.

This year's winners will be honored at a special banquet on January 18 at the Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati, OH.

But before that great event takes place, we welcome you to take a look at how these kind and selfless individuals and companies do what they do.

An introductory letter from Rick Chiricosta, President and CEO, Medical Mutual

Pillar Award for Community Service honorees:

Medical Mutual SHARE Award honoree:

Nonprofit Board Executive of the Year Award honorees:

Executive Director of the Year Award honorees:

Rising Star honoree:

Kent Clapp CEO Leadership Award honoree:

A list of our fine sponsors

Published in Cincinnati
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 11:49

A focus on family

John Silverman has been engaged in numerous projects and fundraising efforts for Talbert House, a communitywide network of social services, since joining the board in 2003. But as a father of two who learned by his father’s strong example, no project has ignited as much passion in him as the Fatherhood Project.

The program assists men in their efforts to become responsible, committed, nurturing fathers through classes, coaching and fellowship support meetings. Striving to strengthen the connection between fathers and their children, especially for men lacking a strong father role model, Silverman has pushed the program beyond its initial conception.

The 2009-2010 board chair began his commitment to the program by chairing the Fatherhood Luncheon, a fundraiser that honors fathers in the community — including a graduate of the Fatherhood Project. Silverman assembled a committee of dedicated community and business leaders to support the effort. The luncheon’s success in 2010 prompted Talbert House to broaden the program’s reach.

Silverman envisioned a communitywide event that would honor dads and provide an opportunity for families to celebrate fatherhood. Raising private funds through Silverman’s committee, Talbert House was able to host its first Fatherhood Community Celebration on Father’s Day 2011. This event provided fathers the opportunity to spend the day with their children enjoying free refreshments, games, zoo animals, live music and sports challenge activities with the Bengals and member of the UC basketball team. Not satisfied with the estimated 1,000 attendees, however, Silverman is already planning to triple that number in 2012.

It’s estimated that Silverman has raised over $150,000 to support the Fatherhood Project over the past two years. This is in addition to his support of Talbert House’s other programs and initiatives, which provide social services in community corrections, mental health, substance abuse and welfare to work.

How to reach: Talbert House, (513) 751-7747 or

Published in Cincinnati
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 11:43

Giving from the heart

Community service has been personal for law firm Rendigs, Fry, Kiely & Dennis LLP since its founding in 1946.

Co-founder August A. Rendigs donated funds to build the Alfred J. Rendigs Memorial Center of United Cerebral Palsy of Cincinnati in honor of his son, born with cerebral palsy. He also established a memorial fund to support the operation of the center, which continues to provide UCP’s adult services today.

The company, led by Managing Partner Tom Evans, is still commitment to the United Cerebral Palsy of Cincinnati. Rendigs’ attorneys have served on the board for more than 40 years and the firm still provides financial support through the August A. Rendigs Foundation.

The Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati is another organization close to Rendigs’ heart, as both a founding partner and current partner have children with Down syndrome. The firm has had associates serving the DSAGC and its board of directors for years. The company supports the nonprofit with donations of time and money, most recently participating in its 2011 Buddy Walk fundraiser.

Rendigs’ support extends to a variety of other organizations, as well. The company sponsors three walks in the month of October that benefit Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center’s Surviving the Teens program, the National Alliance on Mental Illness Wellness and the American Cancer Society. The company’s annual Rendigs Thanksgiving Luncheon brings employees together to provide canned and boxed food donations as well as monetary support for the Cincinnati Freestore Foodbank.

In addition to a commitment to corporate philanthropy, Rendig encourages community service at the employee level. The firm promotes company participation in one charitable effort per quarter, such as making cards for Ronald McDonald House or making food at the Kids Against Hunger factory. Employees are also involved in the community on an individual basis, supporting more than 80 organizations.

How to reach: Rendigs, Fry, Kiely & Dennis LLP, (513) 381-9200 or

Published in Cincinnati